Facilitators

Facilitators

Jackie Fisher – Foundation Phase Facilitator

Tell us about your Education and Experience

After completing a B.A degree in Drama and Psychology at Rhodes University, I spent a year in London working as a teacher’s aide for children with special needs. It was during this time that my passion for teaching grew stronger. I then returned to South Africa a year later to complete my PGCE. Once qualified I taught a multitude of subjects in South African schools, both government and private, from preschool to grade 7. I also enjoyed the unique opportunity of teaching in Dubai thereafter. After many frustrated years of mainstream teaching and once becoming a mother, my eyes began to open up to the possibilities of alternative education systems. I began teaching Art, Music and Drama in a Montessori environment, which I really enjoyed. Thereafter I ran my own business teaching Music and Drama to the Homeschool community.

What does Learning mean to you?

Learning to me is a way of being. It is not something that should just be done to achieve an external outcome. It is a natural curiosity about the things surrounding us. All small children are natural learners, and this does not suddenly change the moment they turn 7 and ‘require’ formal schooling! If we can continue to support and encourage the small child’s natural love of learning, the child will continue to challenge him/her-self. Children who love learning are children who have a vast appetite for life. It is our job as parents and educators not to continually ‘box’ this love of learning into times and subjects, as learning can happen any time of day or night. Children who are encouraged to pursue their interests and commit to them wholeheartedly, will naturally become self-directed. Life is ever changing and the more open children are to learning, the better they will adapt to all of life’s many changes. Open Minds Campus is an environment which allows me to apply my approach to learning freely, which I enjoy.

Personal Interests and Development

I am a wife, and mother to an amazing young boy. I enjoy spending time with my family in nature, visiting museums and other outings. I am a reflective thinker and take nothing at face value. I question everything! I am a creative person and enjoy all things related to the imagination, which is why I also enjoy playing dramatic games with my son. I am interested in dream analysis and interpretation. On the occasions that I have spare time, you would find me reading a novel or playing the saxophone. I am interested in research about parenting and teaching and want to learn more about these fascinating studies. I strive to model the love of learning that I so love seeing in both my child and the children that I teach.

Cristina Nanabhay – High-School Phase Facilitator

Tell us about your Experience?

I am a Mathematician, Educator, Entrepreneur and a passionate Social Developer. My work experience has focused primarily on Education of Mathematics and Science, as well as Social Integration and Development for under-privileged families. I work, learn and teach at the Open Minds Campus where I enjoy the privilege to facilitate the process of awakening the whole child towards creative responsibility, developing confident, balanced individuals empowered to work with the challenges of today and tomorrow.

What does Education and Learning mean to you?

Our social structures have created extremely complicated survival processes. A child’s ability to look at life with utter freshness and involvement is slowly disappearing. It is the duty and responsibility of our educational systems to bring that back. Education can hardly be a profession – it must be a passion. In the process of education, I feel that it is very important to see that the child does not lose his joyfulness, his spontaneity, or his ability to be truthful without any fear of consequence.

Here, at the Open Minds Campus, we are striving to create the environment where education is not about loading the child’s mind with information, but about making the child’s mind capable of razor sharp perception, capable of knowing life in its full depth and dimension.

Education is about expanding the horizons of human experience and becoming inclusive. Only in a state of inclusiveness can the empowerment of education become a bounty all of us may cherish.

Personal Interests and Development

I am a grateful mother of Aliya (age 13) and Hana (age 8). I am vegetarian and have a life-long interest in Health and Spiritual Well-Beingness – Yoga, Meditation and Alternative Healing.

I am Passionately Curious … about Everything!

Dipta Patel – Upper Primary Facilitator

Tell us about your Education and Experience

After qualifying with a degree in Electronic Engineering, I worked in an engineering firm that designed integrated circuit chips. I soon realised that a people-centred career was closer to my passion. Open Minds Campus allowed me to make use of my strong academic background while allowing me to play a part in the growth of learners. Having attended a mainstream school myself allowed me to reflect on the impact that it has on students and it was only natural to adopt the Open Minds approach. My highly empathic nature allows me to bond well with the students and guide them towards their goals.

What does Learning mean to you?

Learning is about being more refined than who or what you were yesterday. It extends to all spheres of life and is life-long. It requires enthusiasm even when being placed outside one’s comfort zone. Open Minds Campus gives me the opportunity to impart to children the art of self-learning. Learning then extends beyond a test or exam. It happens purely for oneself.

Personal Interests and Development

My interests lie in many fields. I enjoy art, dance, anime, reading and cooking. I find it stimulating to have intellectual conversations that compel me to reflect on my thoughts and beliefs. The little things that life has to offer give me the greatest pleasures, like popcorn and a good movie on rainy days. I have a strong belief in the power of optimism and strive to always be positive. Being engaged with life and questioning concepts that do not resonate with me, while keeping an open mind, is my way of constantly learning. I strive to model this method of learning.

Christa Porter – Afrikaans Facilitator

Tell us about your Education and Experience

I have a keen interest in educational development. I assist UNISA students studying Psychology and am an accredited Assessor, Facilitator and Skills Development Facilitator. I was an oral hygienist at an orthodontic practice. I also did trauma counselling. I always had a love for languages and in 2011 co-authored an Afrikaans First Language Textbook for Grade 6 pupils. I studied German at University when I commenced my studies to be a teacher. I soon switched over to Psychology and completed my Honours. During my internships I was appointed as a family counsellor at the High Court. I then started assisting learners with Afrikaans and fell in love with the excitement of the learning experience.

What does Learning mean to you?

Learning is a lifelong experience that should always leave you changed for the better. No knowledge is ever a waste. One should stay open to all opportunities to learn and embrace such opportunities with enthusiasm and gratitude. We learn from trial and error but the important thing is to never give up until you have succeeded and even then you can still improve. Learning is a way to mindfully change.

Personal Interests and Development

I am an emphatic listener with broad shoulders and a patient ear. I absolutely embrace the fact that I am a child of Africa who loves the sun, the soil, the weather, the people, the diversity, the opportunities, the challenges, the solutions, the energy and the struggle because I am here for a reason. I rarely sit still, seldom watch television, love gardening and adore animals. I raised two beautiful daughters whom I sent into the world with confidence. I have a deep appreciation and respect for life and treasure that, as it keeps me mindful to all that lives. I bake and cook for fun and love to experiment with foods from different cultures. I am always finding ways to re-invent myself.

Rubina Ghoor – PDP Facilitator

Tell us about your Education and Experience

Education has been a lifelong passion. I completed a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in Psychology and Arabic, followed by a Higher Diploma in Education and thereafter an Honours in Educational Management. I am qualified as a school guidance counselor. I worked as an educator managing the school environment, teaching a grade one class and then worked at a secondary school, teaching Accounting and Business Studies. I homeschooled my four children for ten years. I continually study multiple modalities of alternative healing such as Kinesiology, Life Coaching, Brain Gym among others. My current practice involves holistic healer.

At Open Minds Campus, I have been blessed with the opportunity to work as the Personal Development Program Facilitator to the Facilitators, children and parents for the past two years, where I am able to share tools for self-improvement with the students.

What does Learning mean to you?

We learn every day and in every way, be it consciously or subconsciously. If we choose to learn consciously, then we have taken full responsibility for the journey of our lives. Learning means that we are changing for the better in all areas of our lives. It is not confined to a skill or knowledge. All education that brings wisdom, peace and love into our hearts is beneficial learning.

Personal Interests and Development

My passion lies in observing the unfolding of the human spirit and seeing it reach its true potential. Guiding and supporting the development of people by sharing tools is the work that I do. Acknowledging the seed of love and compassion in each person and then being given the opportunity to nurture this seed is the greatest gift.

Ayla Caldwell – Posture Alignment Exercises

Tell us about your Education and Experience

I qualified with a Pilates Mat Work certification in 2009 and started teaching at Virgin active. By 2011 I expanded into renting my own venues and providing group as well as private sessions. I felt that I wanted more understanding to help people regain their movement and in particular how to assist with chronic pain symptoms, as I myself battled with back pain. I branched off into an American technique known as the Egoscue Method, which in 2014 gave me a greater understanding of  body mechanics. I also enrolled for a South African course developed by a physiotherapist, called Myofascial Activated Posture, and this gave me further tools to increase the body’s ability to move.

What does Learning mean to you?

Learning for me is a never ending story. There is always more to discover, more to know and I find learning an exhilarating experience. I am learning every day, whether through theory or with every client I work with. When anything new interests me, I want to increase my understanding and to do this I have to gain a better reality by what I notice. I communicate into this mystery through books or through clients’ feedback. Learning makes me more excited, curious and hungry for more knowledge.  As my knowledge increases, I can better control and implement the right exercises, feeling more confident to take on the responsibility of the client’s care into my hands. Knowledge for me is a continuous circle getting bigger and bigger, allowing me to do more and more.

Tell us more about yourself

I am deeply passionate about finding the right solution to helping others with their body problems. I am glad to see the children at the campus enjoy the benefits of the exercises. And wherever I can, I try to help them by giving menus to do in their own time at home if they have a personal body discomfort. I love working with people and always want to see others happy and full of energy, by being able to move freely.

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